by milla jean
“I have a broken heart,” she said.
The pain in Noel’s heart was not actually that at all. No, it was the amount of fat in her breast diminishing, as she shed more pounds, unintentionally; shrinking, squeezing now a milk duct, sending signals of aching and discomfort through her left breast’s nipple, radiating outward, but radiating inward as well, from the area she approximated to be her heart. This, now caused a reaction outside of her body, as she rubbed her chest with her right palm and reached over to massage the muscles near the back left shoulder blade, where the stress always built up. She was completely self-contained. Momentary relief would ensue, and she guessed it was just stress, but it was the interconnection of the nerves, physically, mirroring somehow the mental activity which brought together the picture she painted in her mind, and she feared for herself.
“It’s like….I guess I am stressed out… but why does it manifest itself in my heart?”
Dr. Krantz, seated in his tall black ergonomic rolling chair, shuffled his feet slightly in his dress shoes and black socks under his tweed pants, and now glanced upward and to the right, attempting to gain access to the truth there in his brain. He closed his mouth flatly, so as not to be tempted to speak too soon, to use the wrong words. He stifled the desire to use the effect of her hollowing eyes and ashen face to affect his statement, which might turn a suggestion into an outward concern or judgment — a judgment of the right and wrong choices a person must make on his own, and cannot, to anyone else, really turn. So he saw it, and so it was at the time.
He opened his mouth and closed it again. He pinched his lips together and looked harder into the upper right corner, then began again:
“What if your heart were telling you something?” he asked. “I wonder what that would be.”
Noel blinked a few times and then focused her stare on the child’s drawing on the opposite wall. It was supposed to be a planet with a ring around it. That was how she saw it anyway. Perhaps it was a Rorschach test, and not a child’s drawing at all. No, the evidence of the elaborate Playmobil castle and stacks of boxed games and jigsaw puzzles convinced her enough. Dr. Krantz was a self-professed child psychologist after all. She wasn’t so sure he had adult patients besides her otherwise.
“Well…” she peered into the air before her, not seeing much at all now, just narrowing down the neurons in her head she wanted to play upon — the ones that lit up brightly in a pattern now, and she began to touch them, turning them neon, like touching soft mallets to a colorful xylophone.
“He’d say…” she looked at Dr. Krantz in surprise with bigger eyes. “I don’t know where that came from!” she laughed now. “I guess my heart is a guy….”
Dr. Krantz had to laugh too now, it was so out of the blue.